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What is Temazepam?

Temazepam (Restoril) is a benzodiazepine, which is a central nervous system (brain and spinal column) depressant and Schedule IV controlled substance [1]. It is used short-term to treat insomnia (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep). It works by slowing activity in the brain to allow sleep. It acts on your brain to produce a calming effect.

Use of this medication is usually limited to short treatment periods of one to two weeks or less due to the risks of abuse. If your insomnia continues for a longer time, talk to your doctor to see if you need other treatment. Prolonged use of the drug puts you at risk for psychological and physical dependence, leading to drug addiction.

Restoril, generically known as temazepam, was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) [2] for the treatment of anxiety in 1981. It has since become one of the most widely prescribed anti-anxiety medications in the country despite the high risk of abuse associated with its use. When combined with other depressants or alcohol, or when taken in large dosages, Restoril can cause a loss of consciousness and respiratory failure.

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Temazepam side effects and dangers, including overdose, do not discriminate. Anyone who uses Temazepam is at risk of dependency, addiction, or overdose.
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How Does it Work?

GABA, which stands for gamma-Aminobutyric acid, is responsible for moderating the signals being sent between nerve cells. By enhancing GABA activity, Temazepam helps to reduce brain activity, leading to a reduction of anxiety and better sleep. It is recommended that the medicine be used between seven to ten days. In fact, individuals can become dependent on Temazepam even when taking it at the prescribed dosage levels.

The longer someone takes Temazepam or exceeds their prescribed dosage, the more likely they will become dependent. When someone becomes dependent on any medication, it usually means their bodies feel normal only when that substance is present. Once that substance leaves the body, they begin to experience physical and psychological disturbances. Those disturbances are referred to as withdrawal symptoms.

Why it is Used?

Doctors typically prescribe Temazepam as an anti-anxiety medication and for use by people with problems finding sleep – such as insomnia. However, due to sedative-hypnotic and central nervous system depression, some people use the drug even when there is no clinical need.

When used appropriately, Temazepam does treat insomnia and occasionally helps manage the effects of anxiety. However, as suggested previously, people who go against the prescribed temazepam uses are taking a health risk of developing dependence, addiction, and suffering overdose.

Temazepam Warnings

Important Warnings

Although it is a schedule IV drug, you should be very careful taking this drug. This drug has black box warnings. The following are the most severe warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

  • Suicidal Thinking and Behavior Warning:  This drug can increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults. This is more likely to happen during the first few months of treatment with this drug. When you or your child first starts taking this drug, your doctor and family should watch closely. They should look for changes in behavior or worsening signs of depression.
  • Dangerous Effects with Opioid Use:  Using this drug with opioid drugs, such as hydrocodone, or codeine, can cause hazardous effects. Your risk is more eminent if you take high doses of either drug and take them for a long time. Call your doctor right away if you or someone you’re caring for has symptoms of unusual dizziness or lightheadedness, extreme sleepiness, slowed or difficult breathing, or unresponsiveness. These symptoms can lead to coma and even death.
  • Misuse and Addiction:  Taking this medication can lead to abuse and addiction. This can increase your risk of overdose and death.
  • Physical Dependence and Withdrawal Reactions: Taking this medication for several days to weeks can cause physical dependence and withdrawal reactions. Do not suddenly stop taking this medication without talking with your doctor. If you suddenly stop taking this medication, you may have withdrawal symptoms, which can be life-threatening.

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Temazepam Side Effects by Likelihood and Severity

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these Temazepam side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

Common Temazepam Side Effects 

  • Muscle weakness
  • Indigestion
  • Drowsiness
  • Inducing a relaxed, easy state
  • Dizziness
  • Loss Of muscle coordination
  • Slurred speech

Infrequent Temazepam Side Effects

  • Confusion
  • Behavioral problems
  • Abnormal nervous system function affecting alertness
  • Low energy
  • Diarrhea
  • Generalized weakness

Rare Temazepam Side Effects

  • A type of blood disorder where the red blood cells burst (Hemolytic Anemia)
  • Low blood counts due to bone marrow failure
  • Anemia
  • Decreased blood platelets
  • Very low levels of granulocytes (a type of white blood cell)
  • Increased eosinophils in the blood
  • High levels of white blood cells
  • Mental problems from taking the drug
  • Manic behavior
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Addiction 
  • Depression
  • Feelings Of hostility
  • Low blood pressure
  • Decreased lung function
  • Coma
  • Memory loss
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • A skin rash
  • Apnea, a breathing interruption
  • Trouble Breathing
  • An inability to completely empty the bladder
  • abnormal liver function tests
  • A significant type of allergic reaction called anaphylaxis
  • A type of allergic reaction called angioedema
  • Accidental falls
  • Jaundice
  • Sleepwalking

Temazepam Side Effects
Mixing Temazepam and alcohol can cause a loss of consciousness and respiratory failure.

Temazepam Side Effects – Weight Gain

Weight increase is found among people who take Temazepam, especially for females, 60+ old, who have been taking the drug for 2 – 5 years. Temazepam side effects that may affect a person’s weight in variable patterns. Some patients do get nauseated which may decrease their caloric intake and cause some mild weight loss. Some patients, do not frequently, sleep eat, and this may cause increased caloric intake and mild weight gain.

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Temazepam Side Effects on Pregnant Women and Fetuses 

Doctors also do not prescribe Temazepam for pregnant women because it poses a health risk to mother and child and could result in birth defects to the fetus.

Temazepam is not also advised for use on individuals with the following conditions:

  • History of drug or alcohol abuse
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Sleep apnea
  • Depression
  • Mental illness
  • Breathing problems
  • Seizures
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Decreased lung function or chronic lung disease
  • Worsening of debilitating chronic lung disease (called COPD)
  • Memory loss
  • Documented hypersensitivity
  • Narrow-angle glaucoma

Temazepam Side Effects in Elderly

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of temazepam in the elderly [3]. However, elderly patients are more likely to have unwanted effects (eg, severe drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, clumsiness, or unsteadiness) and age-related kidney, liver, or heart problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving temazepam.

Benzodiazepine-hypnotics are frequently used to treat insomnia in older adults. However, there is little information about adverse effects associated with their usage over several weeks, particularly in this population segment.

There are few adverse effects, and behavioral tolerance to those effects develops over time. The addition of cognitive-behavioral intervention reduced both the amount of medication used and the incidence of adverse effects, with comparable sleep improvements.

Temazepam Side Effects Depression

Certain medications have a propensity to bring about mania and depression in patients. If you suspect that the medication you are taking may be causing changes in your brain chemistry, leading to depression or mania, consult a medical professional for further advice. 

Drug-induced depression is nothing new. Unfortunately, it is possible to develop dependencies on drugs for treating a specific condition, while inducing unwanted Temazepam side effects like mental health conditions such as depression.

Valium, Xanax, and Restoril are considered effective treatments for depression. In 2011 alone, some 48 million prescriptions for Xanax were written. This medication is widely prescribed for depressive disorder, agoraphobia, panic disorders, anxiety, insomnia, and premenstrual syndrome. 

Xanax increases the dispersion of natural tranquilizers throughout the body, through the central nervous system. Benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Valium, and temazepam (Restoril) can also induce depression when they are overprescribed.

Abuse of these prescription drugs increases the risk of Temazepam side effects like memory loss, depression, and difficulty breathing. It can also lead to overdose, dependence, and addiction, negatively affecting many areas of life and health.

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Temazepam Overdose

As a central nervous system depressant, Temazepam’s properties cause the body and mind to slow. When used as prescribed, these changes are typically safe and produce this drug’s trademark sleep-inducing effect. However, when Temazepam is used in higher-than-prescribed quantities or in a way other than intended (such as snorting or smoking it), the central nervous system depression can become extreme, to the point of danger.

Abusing Temazepam alone or with another drug can cause important life-support systems to slow to dangerous levels. As this occurs, these critical functions become unable to work properly, including those regulating a person’s blood pressure, breathing, heart, and temperature rates. What results can be extreme sedation, life-threatening breathing problems (respiratory depression), or coma?

As a person’s body begins to overdose, they will likely experience some or all of the following physical and mental changes:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Extreme sleepiness
  • Fainting
  • Lightheadedness
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Poor reflexes
  • Trouble breathing
  • Unconsciousness
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Extreme sleepiness
  • Fainting
  • Lightheadedness
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Poor reflexes
  • Trouble breathing
  • Unconsciousness

Benzodiazepine intoxication and overdose can at times resemble alcohol intoxication. In order to protect a person’s life, it’s important that these effects not be blamed on alcohol and dismissed. However, alcohol poisoning can itself be life-threatening and a condition that requires emergency medical care. Overdose on Temazepam alone is dangerous when this drug is used with other drugs (polydrug use) this risk can be exponentially higher.

Medically Assisted Temazepam Detox

The most severe symptoms will happen when someone stops “cold turkey.” This means the person stopped using all at once instead of tapering off the medication gradually. A sudden stop will trigger intense physical and emotional symptoms in the client within twelve hours after the last dose. In some instances, these symptoms can be dangerous.

A person must seek treatment to avoid these potentially fatal concerns. If you were to experience seizures or delirium tremens (DTs), you must be in the care of medical professionals who can take the proper precautions. If you are alone, you may succumb to your symptoms. Medical detox is designed to treat severe withdrawals safely and effectively.  

Medically supervised detox seeks to lessen these risks with a tapering off schedule and the supervision of trained, qualified medical staff. If someone can safely detox in a controlled and supportive environment, they’re at less risk of experiencing a relapse because of the pain of withdrawal. 

During detox, the objective is to help the individual stop using the drug while lessening symptoms and ensuring that vitals stay healthy. In addition, during Restoril detox, a patient may be evaluated for co-occurring mental health conditions.

It would be best if you do not end your treatment after undergoing medically assisted Restoril detox. The detox process is only the start of your journey towards overcoming your Temazepam addiction. After the detox, many people may choose to continue their treatment with a rehab program.

Although drug detox addresses the physical aspects of addiction, detox alone is not a cure for addiction. It does not help clients work through the behavioral problems associated with addiction nor get to the root causes of their addictive behaviors. This is what rehab is for.

During your rehabilitation, the staff from the treatment facility will help the client identify what caused the addiction and teach skills that will help change the person’s behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to the person to addiction.

If you or someone you love is struggling with Temazepam side effects due to addiction and withdrawal to these drugs, get them the safest help they need and deserve. We Level Up NJ offers a safe and medically assisted Temazepam detox as part of our Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment Program. Contact our team at We Level Up NJ today!

Temazepam side effects
Seeking addiction treatment for a person addicted to Temazepam can help prevent serious health risks caused by benzodiazepine use and addiction.

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[1] FDA –

[2] DEA –

[3] NCBI –